'Jackpot auntie' to insure plaque for $5m

'Jackpot auntie' to insure plaque for $5m
"Jackpot auntie" Choo Hong Eng and a plaque by artist Tan Swie Hian bearing the Chinese characters for Kwan Inn Vegetarian Restaurant. She plans to insure the plaque for $5 million.
PHOTO: Lianhe Wanbao

"JACKPOT auntie" Choo Hong Eng is seeking an insurance policy that offers $5 million coverage for a calligraphic plaque that will double as the signboard for her latest eatery.

The plaque's creator is famed Singaporean artist Tan Swie Hian, whose artworks have sold for millions.

Madam Choo - who earned the nickname Jackpot Auntie after she donated casino winnings to charity in 2011 - and her business partner are looking at the premiums quoted by a few insurance companies for the plaque.

The decision would be made soon by her partner - a financial group that helped fund the set up of the Kwan Inn Vegetarian Restaurant in Tanjong Katong Road, Madam Choo, 62, told My Paper yesterday. The plaque depicts the eatery's name in Chinese characters.

According to the devout Buddhist, the financial group was so impressed with the hard work and quest of excellence shown in the creation of the plaque that they believed $5 million is a reasonable amount to insure it.

The plaque's creator, Mr Tan, has been recognised as Singapore's most expensive living artist after two paintings by him were auctioned off at $3.7 million and $4.4 million in 2012 and last year in Beijing respectively.

Mr Tan's artistic talent is known to span Chinese calligraphy, Chinese poetry and modern sculpture.

According to Madam Choo, the artist is such a perfectionist that he had sent the plaque back to the engravers seven times for corrections, which was why it took a month to complete.

Madam Choo was in the news last month when six donation boxes with about $10,000 were stolen from her vegetarian food stall in Geylang East.

Her dispute with Marina Bay Sands casino brought her into the public eye after the casino paid $416,000 of winnings due to her in 2011.

The Kwan Inn Vegetarian Restaurant began operations on Sunday, but its formal opening is scheduled for Dec 12.

Mr Tan has been invited to officiate the opening, Madam Choo told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao.

The plaque will then be hung behind the cashier counter, facing the entrance.


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